Homer's Travels: 2022 Fall Travels, Part Four - Ethiopia - Paradise Lodge, Lake Chamo, The Dorze, And The Konso

Monday, December 19, 2022

2022 Fall Travels, Part Four - Ethiopia - Paradise Lodge, Lake Chamo, The Dorze, And The Konso

We left Harar and flew to Arba Minch.  This was a travel day and we ended our day at the Paradise Lodge.  This place came close to living up to its name.  The lodge is located on the edge of a ridge with spectacular views of lake Abaya, lake Chamo, and the jungle parkland in between.

Lake Abaya and the forest view of the Paradise Lodge. 
A few days before arriving at the lodge our guide mentioned a great masseuse at the Paradise lodge.  The Wife and I, another of our tour group, and our guide all booked massages the day of our arrival.  I'd expected the usual Swedish massage.  Instead it was a deep tissue massage … my first.  A deep tissue massage is aggressive and this masseuse knew exactly where  the knots in my muscles were and she aggressively went after them.  I cringed a few times at just how aggressive she was.  As I left the spa I warned the Wife and suggested she ask for a less aggressive massage.  I returned to our 'hut' (our hut had a real floor, plastered walls, windows and sliding doors, a king size bed, electricity, and running water … more a hotel room than a traditional hut) and sat out on our back veranda admiring the view.  All of a sudden I felt the delayed reaction of the massage (I think the adrenaline wore off) and my body just relaxed.  I have never felt so relaxed.  The Wife returned an hour later.  This was her first real massage and she loved it.

A goliath heron.
While I was waiting for the Wife to return our hut was visited first by Momma warthog and her two young'uns and later by Poppa warthog.  I was so relaxed it took me a while to get my camera and take a picture of Poppa.
Poppa warthog.

The next day we went to lake Chamo and boarded a motor boat.  The level of the lake was very high and the dock and concession stands were underwater.  We had to walk on a narrow log to get to the boat.  The boat took us out on the lake (This was boat ride number five if I'm counting right) where we saw fisherman fishing from small rafts, birds, hippopotami lounging in the shallows of the lake, and crocodile sunning themselves on an island.  The crocodiles leave their mouths open so birds will come in and clean out any parasites in their mouths.

A crocodile sunning himself with his mouth open.
After lunch at the lodge we drove to Chencha to visit the Dorze people.  These people live in domed houses that look like elephant's head.  The tribe once hunted elephants but over the years the elephants had moved to other locations.  We learned how the homes are built, how termites erode the base of the house slowly shrinking the house, and how the smaller eroded houses are used as kitchens or storage huts.
Dorze "elephant" house.

We then learned how the tribe cultivates the false banana and how they use all parts of the plant for weaving, food, and drink. 

This was followed by a dance and singing demonstration.  This is the part of visiting tribes that bothers me.  It feels like we are watching circus animals performing instead of people actually celebrating their culture.  The only consolation is our tour company pays the tribe for the our visit and this helps them continue their way of life.

On the way out of town we visited the town market where I learned that my name was apparently "Hello Money".  At least that is what all the kids called me.

The next day we reluctantly left the Paradise lodge and drove into the highlands to visit the Konso tribe.  This tribe build their villages on hillsides and surround them with walls.  The location and walls make it easier for them to defend their village from enemies or at least it used to.  As the village grows new walls are built. The village we visited had three concentric walls. The inner walls are hundreds of years old as are the stone terrasses the Konzo people farm on. In the village we learned how they grew coffee, how they built generation poles (a new pole is added for each generation living in the village), and about the stones used to test if you had reached manhood (I was not a man as I could not lift it at all and to be a man you had to lift it and toss it over your shoulder).

Older Konzo men play games and take care of the children as the younger adults work.
At the end of the day we ended up at the Buska lodge in Turmi.  Our adventure in southwestern Ethiopia would continue.

Pictures can be found in my Ethiopia 2022-10 Google Photos album.

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